CAG report raises red flags and concerns for the NDA
- Rommel Rodrigues
- Aug 20, 2023
MUMBAI: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for most of its two terms of 9 years now, not been subjected to many negative reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) however the recent adverse reports on some of its key projects and schemes has certainly raised red flags.
The latest report from the CAG the national auditor of the nation has flagged certain concerns with Government initiatives including the Ayushman Bharat scheme and the construction of the Dwarka Expressway.
In the Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, as per a report around 750,000 beneficiaries were associated with an invalid mobile number, specifically 9999999999. The CAG also identified 4,761 registrations that were linked to only seven Aadhar numbers, indicating potential irregularities. The CAG report also mentions about irregularities in the Ayushman Bharat scheme in MP, saying Rs 1.1 crore was paid to 403 'dead' patients.
In the Dwarka Expressway, the CAG has flagged the civil construction cost of the 29 km expressway, which was sanctioned by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) for Rs 250.77 crore per km against Rs 18.20 crore per km approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
There are other areas where the CAG has raised red flags and while the government may have its explanation, the fact is such adverse reports have the potential for the opposition and the public to cast serious aspersions, and spark controversy and criticism against the rule parties.
We know that the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Manmohan Singh had been criticized due to serious issues raised by the CAG reports throughout its 10 years of rule. These reports have been connected to major scandals and incidents that have tarnished the government's reputation.
Opposition parties and the citizens were enraged by the 2012 CAG report on the anomalies in the auctioning of 194 coal blocks, and the UPA government came under fire for creating a loss to the exchequer of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore. Then there was the CAG report on an estimated loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore due to irregularities in the allocation procedure in the CAG report on the 2G spectrum allocation.
The UPA government was not overthrown by these reports but they did add to the general public's displeasure with them. These reports indicated corruption and irregularities during the UPA administration and played a significant role in destroying the government's reputation, resulting in its being ousted from power.
It is crucial to keep in mind that different parties and people may see the significance of CAG findings differently and that their interpretation and impact can vary, but adverse findings and remarks can be potentially harmful to any government.